Information perscriptions (IPs) are prescriptions of specific, evidence-based information to manage health problems.
To determine whether a pediatrician-provided IP would change parents' attitudes/behaviors about using Internet health information resources.
Design, Setting, and Participants
We conducted a randomized controlled trial of parents visiting an academic general pediatric practice. Both groups received a preintervention paper survey and a telephone survey 2 to 3 weeks after their clinic visit. The intervention group was offered computer training and received the IP and training summary handout.
Final groups included 100 control and 97 intervention subjects. Of all parents, 68.0% had used the Internet in the past 6 months for health information and 52.8% used it for children's health information. The intervention group used the Internet more for general health informa-tion (P = .05) and child health information (P<.001) than the control group. At follow-up, 51 (66.2%) of 77 Internet information resources used by the intervention group were prescribed by the pediatricians. Parents who used the IP (31 [32%] of 97 intervention parents) used the Internet for general health information (P<.001) and child health information (P = .001) more than nonusers. Compared with nonusers, IP users were more likely to state they would use the IP again in the future (P = .02) and had already recommended the IP to family or friends more than nonusers (P = .001).
Parents of children in pediatric practices commonly use the Internet for general and children's health information. In this study, IPs were associated with specific parental attitude and behavior changes resulting in increased Internet utilization for general and child health information and for specific high-quality information resources. Pediatricians can implement IPs in their office.